News & Notes February 25, 2013

Gov. Corbett’s son-in-law, suspended by Philadelphia Police for allegedly stealing drug money from a bait car, turned in his gun and badge in preparation for dismissal.

One f the leading causes of drug addiction and crime is the lack of quality education in our cities.  We aren’t adequately educating minority children because we aren’t adequately funding their schools.  The state costing out study done several years ago determined it costs $9,000/year to educate each student.  Classrooms, teachers, aides and resources cost money.  Slashing funding for inner city schools by cutting budgets and funding charter schools is only exacerbating the problem.  Philadelphia schools lost $8.7 million last year to charter (for profit) schools which we know are not educating students well.

The number of children living in poverty in Pennsylvania is up 15%.  This means fewer kids are getting meals at home or school.  Conservatives are cutting food stamps, child care, Head Start and other critical early childhood intervention programs.  You may decry “big government” but government provides valuable and critical services.  It is the only counter to Big Business.  More and more we live in a corporatist culture rather a capitalistic one.  All laws passed in Washington have to be approved by the Chamber of Commerce or industry groups to the detriment of everyone else.  We see this in the cuts being proposed on both state and federal levels.  The rich aren’t being asked to sacrifice just everyone else.  This is hitting poor people especially hard.  If the massive income inequality continues unfettered it will lead to revolution.  It always does.

It’s time to increase the minimum wage.  A number of years ago I was involved ina coalition called Raise the Minimum Wage and we successfully fought to increase it to $7.25/hour in the Commonwealth.  In real dollars that wage is actually lower than it was in 1968.  If we want to get the economy growing again people need to earn more so they can spend more.  Conservatives always scream that increasing the minimum wage will result in job cuts.  Facts show that doesn’t happen.  Higher wages means more economic activity because those at the lower end of the income spectrum tend to spend most of their incomes.  It’s time people working for a living earned enough to live on those incomes.

As I hear absurd statement after absurd statement from Republicans I sometimes wonder if what I’m seeing is actually an parody.  Unfortunately it isn’t.  Some Republicans however still are having trouble understanding that The Onion is satire.

Speaking of not being able to tell the difference between reality and satire got caught believing a joke about Chuck Hagel and a non-existent group called Friends of Hamas.  This would be hysterical if it hadn’t turned out to be believed by some Senators.